Rains Prevent RLR From Contending For Richmond Pole RICHMOND, Virginia--Scott Sharp ( ...
Rains Prevent RLR From Contending For Richmond Pole
RICHMOND, Virginia--Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone) has been one of the top qualifiers in the IndyCar Series field over the month of June, and had another strong starting spot sighted Friday in Richmond before rains washed out qualifying for Saturday's SunTrust Indy Challenge.
Sharp and his Rahal Letterman Racing Jeff Simmons (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) made the most of two hours of testing on Friday before the rains hit the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway, getting their cars set up for tomorrow's race while still trying to hit a good qualifying setup.
Sharp posted a best time of 15.8094 seconds (170.784 mph) around the D-shaped oval, while Simmons hung a best lap of 15.9368 seconds (169.419 mph) on the board. But Sharp did not get a chance to turn that time into qualifying success as the field was set by championship standings after the rain made a late-day appearance in the former Confederate capital. Sharp will start seventh while Simmons will grid in the 11th position.
"The Patron Rahal Letterman Racing car rolled off the truck very well," Sharp said. "With the fear of rain like most in the field we worked on race setup for much of the day which was the wise thing to do. We seem to have a strong pace when we put new tires on the car and tried to go fast. I think we could have done well in qualifying, but we'll just have to show it tomorrow night."
The RLR squad was eager for a chance to qualify, having posted strong results in the last two races. Simmons scored his career-high qualifying result last week while Sharp leads the entire series in qualifying average over the last two events.
"We made improvements during the day but we could have used some more time on the track," Simmons said. "The car certainly got better from where we were last year. The engineers have done a great job in getting a good balance on the car and now I'm able to work with the tools in the car to make it better. I am really looking forward to turning things around after last week's bad luck took us out of what could have been a great result."